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U.S. to probe Toyota hybrid patents

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http://money.cnn.com/2006/02/10/news/inter...dex.htm?cnn=yes

TOKYO (Reuters) - A U.S. trade body is to investigate a complaint that Toyota Motor Corp.'s popular Prius and Highlander hybrid models infringed a patent, according to the body's Web site.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) will look at a claim that the patent is owned by Florida-based Solomon Technologies Inc., it said.

Toyota (up $0.78 to $103.29, Research) shares edged higher in morning trading in New York.

Solomon Technologies filed a complaint with the panel last month saying the hybrid transmission in the two popular vehicles infringed its patent related to motor and transmission systems.

If the ITC agrees with Solomon, Japan's top auto maker could be banned from importing the systems and the Prius and Highlander hybrid models that they power. The ITC said opening a case does not mean it has made any decision on the merits.

A Toyota spokesman said it cannot comment on ongoing cases.

In September, Solomon applied to a Florida federal district court for an injunction against Toyota barring infringement and damages for unauthorized use of its patented technologies.

Toyota sold 110,000 Prius models and 18,800 Highlander hybrid SUVs in North America last year.

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Oh please. Toyota will pay a fine if found guilty, and the world will continue to spin.

I'm really disappointed with how the media handles GM, and I'm certain no one is going to make as big a stink as necessary when it comes time to handle this with Toyota.

You'll hear your stink and it'll die down SO quickly.

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Why is this not in the news? Oh wait, Toyota walks on water, cleans the air and provides safe schools for our children. Or something like that. I hope that Toyota gets hard, is banned from importing them, has to recall all the cars and give the owners a SUV for their trouble.

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Why is this not in the news?  Oh wait, Toyota walks on water, cleans the air and provides safe schools for our children.  Or something like that.  I hope that Toyota gets hard, is banned from importing them, has to recall all the cars and give the owners a SUV for their trouble.

sent a letter to LATimes.com ... if they respond, i'll keep you posted

all of you should send a letter suggesting it get more coverage, if the public demands it, the media responds...

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This could be huge if proven. Just look at the mess that RIM is in because some obscure shell company decides to enforce a pseudo patent of something that was never even built! Millions has been spent by RIM in defending itself and a few hundred million dollar out of court settlement fell apart a while back.

Personally, I think these patent suits are getting out of hand, but it still could cost Toyota dearly even if they win.

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GM should find the cash to buy the patent and then they can say that GM's hybrid technology runs the Toyota Prius.

I already wonder if Toyota has to pay GM to use regenerative braking - they came up with that in the EV1.

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